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State Opens Grant Program For Student Broadband Accessibility

Distance learning, books, laptop
Aksonsat Uanthoeng/Shutterstock

The state is now accepting applications for schools seeking funds to expand broadband accessibility. That program has lifted a restriction that supporters say will go even further in helping low-income districts.

The state is granting $50 million in federal funds to school districts that need help providing Internet access to students.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) announced that the state has lifted its requirement for schools to match 50% of the funds, citing that it was a challenge for schools in-need to find the resources to make the match.

"We have $50 million, it's a lot of money but it's not going to be enough to probably serve everyone so we will target it to those who need it the most."

The BroadbandOhio Connectivity Grant application says schools are eligible if they show they're trying to expand accessibility for:

  • Economically disadvantaged students, as defined for EMIS reporting, including, students on free lunch;
  • Vulnerable children and youth as defined by the Ohio Departement of Education;
  • Students who might have chronic conditions; and
  • Students who do not have other access to the internet

Those eligibility requirements, according to Husted, are intended to help students who cannot afford Internet access or are likely to choose a distance learning option for the beginning of the school year.

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